How to Crush Your Student Loans in 5 Easy Steps

Shutterstock

When you’re seriously broke, the last thing you want to think of is dealing with your student loans. You’re not the only one who’s guilty of trying to ignore it. When you’ve got bills to pay and a grumbling stomach to feed, what are you supposed to do?

Paying the government seems like a big fat “nope, not today!” moment. Unfortunately, that’s a good way to rack up thousands of dollars in fees and interest charges. You do have options. Here are some things you should do.

1. Know What You Owe

First and foremost, you should figure out exactly how much debt you’re dealing with here. A service like Credit Sesame can be quite helpful here since it’ll show you what you owe to where. You’ll be able to see balances for both federal and private loans. Plus, they offer tips on reducing debt and raising that credit score.

2. Start Refinancing

Lowering your interest rates can be a huge step in the right direction towards paying off student debt. Shop around, since sometimes smaller community credit unions and banks will offer better terms than big bank chains.

3. Look into Income-Based Repayment Plans

Doing your research on income-related payment plans could pay dividends in the end if you want to avoid defaulting. There are a few different names for these – Pay as you Earn, Income-Contingent, etc. These can all help you make progress on your repayments without significantly compromising your way of life.

4. Budget, Budget, Budget.

Whether or not your spending is hampering your ability to pay those student loans, you can always benefit from a budget. Cut out unnecessary expenses and look for ways you can save on everyday purchases, bills, and other necessities. We highly recommend going on a shopping-diet and downloading a budgeting app. Buy things you need and avoid succumbing to wants.

5. Make More Money

Easier said than done, right? Side hustles are a real thing that can really help you pay off your debts faster. Thanks to the gig economy, there are a lot of jobs you can pick up in your spare time. If you’re short on time, you can always start small, too. Even if you just make an extra $100 a month, that can go a long way towards those student loans.

We know it’s hard, but imagine how accomplished you’ll feel when that weight is lifted.